Manual The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat (Penguin Modern Classics)

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This regime outclasses modern ones in some ways: No violent purges or collective bloodbaths ever occur. But the extremes of hierarchy leave the tragic fates of the many to deface a benighted land. The writing speaks for itself. Its object is unique.

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The story is a spellbinding discovery. The Emperor , in short, has all the qualities of a perfect book. You cannot go wrong choosing it to read. Mar 15, Sam rated it it was amazing Shelves: A little lesson in the blurred lines between reportage and fiction - a "detailed account" of the fall of Haile Sellasie given by the ministers and servants who once waited upon him. Not, of course, that you'd ever believe these are direct transcriptions of interviews, or that Kapuscinski hasn't modified and tailored these accounts as he sees fit, unless you believe all of the ministers speak in an identical fantastical ironical language.

I suppose if you have narrow ideas of what constitutes non A little lesson in the blurred lines between reportage and fiction - a "detailed account" of the fall of Haile Sellasie given by the ministers and servants who once waited upon him.

Emperor Downfall Autocrat Classics Kapuscinski

I suppose if you have narrow ideas of what constitutes nonfiction you might find this sort of thing offensive, but if you've already signed on to the concept that monkeying with the truth a little is the soul of all narrative, fictional or otherwise, it's easy to give yourself over to the story provided here. Of particular note are the amazing accounts of Sellasie's court pre-disillusion, and the accounts of the men who propped up the emperor's legs on account of him being short in stature and therefore believed that they were personally responsible for "supporting the empire.

Also, according to those in the know, a winking satire of Communist bureaucratic wrangling! Also, according to others who are also in the know but don't agree with the first people in the know, written as a Marxist propaganda tract to expose the futility of Western-sponsored capitalist schemes. However will we discern the truth?!

But from my resolutely non-partisan perspective, a grand old time indeed. Apr 05, Adam rated it it was amazing Shelves: The Emperor is a bizarre and at time grotesquely comic portrait of the last Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie.

The Emperor

It is also a detail and evocative exploration of tyranny. Kapuscinki in a much more impressionistic mood details the rule and fall of another tyrant the last Shah of Iran in the Shah of Shahs. By focusing on tyrants of U. Kadare to critique autocracy in genera,l as in general most dictatorships are the same wh The Emperor is a bizarre and at time grotesquely comic portrait of the last Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie.

Kadare to critique autocracy in genera,l as in general most dictatorships are the same whatever the ideological coloring. Both these texts are brutal, but starkly beautiful with fabulous impressionist writing that for all its dreamlike imagery and angular occurrences is filled with a passion for the innocents caught in the whims of brutal leaders and rebellions.

Arguments can be made against these books as history and reportage, but as literature they remain luminous masterpieces, fluttering torches from the dark nights of the late 20th century. Go to other writers for the facts, go Kapuscinski for something more. Oct 20, Boris Maksimovic rated it it was amazing. Oct 13, Monica rated it really liked it Shelves: Great historical book describing the mood of the palace in Ethiopia under the rule of Haile Selassie. Excellent in its description of mood. You actually see the insanity and chaos that Selassie created and nurtured in his palace and metaphorically throughout his country.

And by the end of the book, you understand how the King of Kings was destroyed by the monster he created. The style was unlike any book I'd read in the past. It was really well done. Sep 13, Hamide meraj rated it really liked it. Jul 28, Renga Hutchinson rated it really liked it. I often wondered what the atmosphere would have been like in Selassie's final years as Emperor of Ethiopia, what factors led to the decay of his empire and the methods taken to depose him.

If these interviews are credible then Ryszard Kapuscinski has shed light on the matter. Nov 28, Adam Dalva rated it liked it. Fascinating book - an oral history of the last days of Haile Selassie's empire told by his palace servants. It most reminded me of the second half of Murakami's underground, when the brainwashed former cultists still adhered to the Aum Shinrikyo ethos. There were sections here where I lost interest mainly as a result of repetition , but what will always stick with me are the little absurdities the revolution starting at a fashion show; the Swiss calisthenics instructors appearing days before t Fascinating book - an oral history of the last days of Haile Selassie's empire told by his palace servants.

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There were sections here where I lost interest mainly as a result of repetition , but what will always stick with me are the little absurdities the revolution starting at a fashion show; the Swiss calisthenics instructors appearing days before the fall of the empire to conduct fitness classes ; and the fascinating, depressing glimpses of professionalism in the person whose sole job was to open the door at exactly the right time, the person whose sole job was to bow just so on the hour, and the person who had to choose the right pillow out of 64 options to slide under The Emperor's tiny feet.

It rings of Marquez's Autumn of the Patriarch too - especially in the chilling moment when the Emperor starts trying to govern the very coup that is overthrowing him. It is a quick read, and a lean book, and a bold one. It suffers from diminishing returns, but it's recommended for anyone who find Selassie or the corrosive nature of power interesting. Oct 17, Martyna rated it liked it.

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Oct 24, Andrew added it Shelves: So I liked all those guys a grip when I was in high school, and now that I'm a bit more grown-up, I can appreciated Ryszard Kapuscinski. Rather than writing about kids dropping acid, he writes about the utter insanity of the court of King Haile Selassie at the twilight of the Ethiopian Empire.

And rather than being strict reportage, I suppose the American frame of reference for The Emperor is probably the "new journalism" stuff from the '60s-- Truman Capote, Tom Wolfe, Hunter Thompson, all that.

And rather than being strict reportage, you get the sense of everything converging on this single piece of writing. History, ritual, materiality, memory, myth, and injustice are all laid out bare. May 15, James rated it it was amazing.

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The most penetrating, compelling book on the nature of power and the inevitability of it's dissolution within the framework of human nature, Kapuscinski's book should be taught -before- Maciavelli in any self-respecting Political Science class. Feb 22, Donna Kirk marked it as to-read. Salman Rushdie wrote about him: May 31, L. Sep 09, J. This book was a gift to me from a friend who is a former Guardian journalist. Suddenly he remember This book was a gift to me from a friend who is a former Guardian journalist.

His name was Lulu. The august gentlemen were not allowed to flinch or make the slightest gesture when they felt their feet getting wet.


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I had to walk among the dignitaries and wipe the urine from their shoes with a satin cloth. This was my job for ten years. Their accounts are eloquent, and wonderfully ironic. I remember, for instance, how His Majesty paid the salaries of foreign engineers but showed no inclination to pay our own masons after the construction of the Imperial Palace called Genete Leul. These simple masons gathered in front of the Palace they had built and began asking for want was due to them. The Supreme Master of Palace Ceremony appeared on the balcony and asked them to move to the rear of the palace, where His Magnanimous Highness would shower them with money.

The delighted crowd went round to the indicated spot - which enabled His Supreme Majesty to leave unembarrassed through the front door and go the Old Palace, where the court awaited him. Very droll, but true or false? It is impossible for the reader to know. It seems unlikely that his own palace servants could have been unaware of this. J ohn Ryle also asserted that the courtly and archaic language in which all the characters speak bears no resemblance to how they could conceivably have spoken in real life.

Kapuscinski invented it for literary and political effect. To add to the layers of fictions, Kapuscinski, a convinced socialist, informer and occasional spy, was becoming disillusioned with Polish Communism by the time he wrote The Emperor. After , he said that this is something he intended. But on a more superficial level, he intended a diatribe against a conservative regime, written from a Marxist perspective.

So the book is political propaganda written by a literary double agent, rather than journalism or history.

I skipped a lot. Irony can be wearing even if you are Henry Fielding or Saki. Only Edward Gibbon and Joseph Conrad can keep it entertaining indefinitely. Waugh of course is the better writer. Both were better fiction writers than journalists. Recent Activity Loading activity Korryn McMinn Finally I can download and read this ebook.

Emperor Downfall Autocrat Classics Kapuscinski – nepad-ippf

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